We go behind the scenes of three popular Hong Kong hair salons and spas – DAZ, EMMANUEL F and Glow Spa – and chat with the experts about what makes them and their businesses tick, plus some upcoming trends to keep an eye on.
#1 Darrin Usher of DAZ
Tell us a bit about your background in hair and how you came to set up shop in Hong Kong.
I’m originally from Australia and was recruited from there to come and work in Hong Kong many years ago. At the time, I thought it would be a good opportunity to gain some international experience I could then take back to Australia; but as it turned out, I’m still here. I worked with some top salons of that time for a number of years until I felt I couldn’t go any further. It was then that I considered leaving HK and started looking for other opportunities. I was wandering the streets contemplating my next move when I came across a cute little space in SOHO; I called the number and rented it there and then. It’s been a remarkable journey from that point on to lead me to have my current salon, DAZ.
You have a real cultural mix on the salon team. Does this bring a unique perspective and skill-set to your hairdressing?
Yes. I’ve always tried to maintain a very international mix with the stylists in my team. I’ve been very fortunate to have some really wonderful people be part of my business – I’d even go as far as to say we have always maintained the most international salon mix in HK. This has allowed us to develop different target areas and specific skill sets for cross-cultural services.
How would you describe the visual style of the salon?
My current salon is what I call “vindustrial” – a mix of vintage and industrial design and décor styles. I don’t go for the typical salon look or feel, and with DAZ I wanted something more personal so it’s moulded after what I personally like.
What hair trends do you predict for the year ahead?
This is always an interesting question. We tend to provide personal service at DAZ and design styles to suit individual clients, regardless of whether it’s the latest “it” style or not. From a trend perspective, mid-length hair will be the way forward for the coming year; also, long bobs, lobs or tousled versions of both. Colour is always a big part of what we do, and dramatic silver/greys are a very hot upcoming look. Of course, this colour is not for the mainstream, so we still do more subtle versions, mixing ombre, balayage and freehand colouring techniques to work with different styles and clients.
2/F, Tung Chai Building
86-90 Wellington Street, Central
2956 3668 | dazhk.com
#2 Emmanuel of EMMANUEL F
What’s your background in hair and how did you come to set up shop in Hong Kong?
My wife Séverine and I worked for the renowned French hairdressing franchise, the Dessange Group, for more then 10 years, including training at the Dessange Academy in Paris. After five years, I was chosen to be the Manager and Artistic Director for a new Dessange salon in Biarritz, France.
We soon started talking about the possibility of an international career, and when I turned 29 we decided to go for it; our first destination was Taipei, where, in 1993, we opened the first Dessange salon and signature Training Academy in Asia.
Our move to Hong Kong came in 2003, when we opened in Central Pottinger Street, staying for six happy and successful years before moving to our new salon.
How are organic hair products better for treatments?
We use only natural and certified organic products from the UK, with ingredients that are as pure as possible. They work as well as any conventional chemical brands but without damaging the health of your hair. We’re also able to be creative with these products, whether it’s for highlights, ombre colouring, anti-frizz treatments or other techniques.
Tell us a bit more about your personalised beauty packages.
Our Spa is incorporated inside the salon. We design a “one-stop service” experience for different needs with our Hair & Spa Combo, and our therapists are well trained in traditional French spa techniques. Our Lymphatic Facial and Slimming treatment is unlike any in the market – gentle and effective, and tailor-made for individuals. Our Waxing treatment uses certified organic pine-seed wax – the only one in Hong Kong providing this level of purity.
You also offer Hairdreams technology; how long do the results last?
There are two types of extensions. “Quikkies” are fantastic for fine to very thin hair; you can create length and thicken the hair very quickly (in a few minutes, with no machine), and the extensions can be re-used two more times with invisible bondings – a total of five to six months of wear. The second type of extension uses a machine to increase length – one hour for a full head. The hair is top quality – soft and natural, and matched to your own colour.
Can you list some of Emmanuel F’s eco-friendly features?
* Design: Natural materials; toxin-free paints and glue; recyclable furniture made from bamboo.
* Air quality: Exclusive use of natural, organic products, so the environment is free of chemical smells.
* Waste reduction: No aluminium foils in highlights; top-quality water filtration system instead of plastic bottles.
* Energy: LED lighting and TV screens; energy-efficient electrical appliances; staff trained to follow energy-saving rules with air-con, lighting and more.
* Sustainability: Sustainable and eco-friendly supplies used wherever possible, from bamboo gowns and organic cotton towels to shopping bags made of recycled bottles.
* Hygiene: Towels and gowns washed in eco-detergents; salon cleaned with eco-friendly products.
Nexxus Building, Level 2, Shop 211-213
41 Connaught Road, Central
2167 8280 | emmanuelf.com
#3 Sioban Gausden of GLOW SPA
Tell us a bit about yourself and Glow Spa.
Most of my career has been in banking. After 15 years in the financial services industry, I decided it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to move to an industry that was people focused. Glow Spa was established over 10 years ago by a beauty industry expert and has been operating in central serving a loyal clientele. When I met Ceri Silk and found she was looking for someone to take over her business, I learnt that she and I shared many of the same ideals.
What drove the jump from finance to Glow Spa?
A spa is first and foremost about people. Banks perhaps less so. Glow has always had an incredible rapport between the staff and the clientele, and I wanted to contribute to that tradition. Owning and working in a spa is an amazing opportunity to meet real people and hear their stories. We have such a wonderfully diverse clientele who come to Glow to relax, completely trusting in the expertise and care of our therapists.
You think very highly of your team, then.
I do! They’re a remarkable group of people. They’re all wonderfully qualified and as interested in people as I am. They enjoy what they do and I think our clients recognise this. We try to match our clients to the best therapist who will then hopefully be their therapist for life! The team takes the time to listen to where you have concerns, or an interest in change, and provide realistic advice on what Glow can do for you and how long it will take. There are no miracle cures but there are fantastic results if the therapist takes the time to provide the right guidance. Each booking has enough time at the beginning and end to ensure the client can therapist can catch-up and then run through what should follow the session, how to use the home care or even just to finish that story about their best friend’s latest antics.
When your friends from the bank come to Glow what do you recommend?
I’m a huge fan of the Corrective Facial; it’s the facial I choose because I can see the results – it really has made a difference to the fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes in particular. Ultimately, though, everyone needs to talk to their therapist and have a recommendation made. There’s no one-size-fits-all. We’re all different!
9F Parker House
72 Queen’s Road, Central
2525 5198 | cerisilk.com